BioteQ Environmental Technologies, Inc. (TSX : BQE), a leader in the treatment of industrial wastewater, together with joint venture partner Jiangxi Copper Company (JCC), the largest copper mining company in China, have committed CDN$3.2 million to build an additional water treatment plant at the Dexing Mine site, located in south-eastern China. The joint venture partners will share equally in the capital costs of the plant and in the profits generated from operations. BioteQ’s share of the capital cost is estimated to be $1.6 million, which will be funded from the existing cash reserves of the joint venture. Revenues from the operation of the new plant will be based on copper recovered, identical to the joint venture’s existing copper recovery facility at Dexing.
During the plant execution process, BioteQ will contribute to the engineering design and will work with JCC personnel on the procurement of key process equipment. JCC will provide all permits and manage site construction. Staff from the existing joint venture will provide commissioning and operating services. Construction is slated to be completed and the plant in operation by July, 2013.
Jonathan Wilkinson, BioteQ’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are pleased to be working with Jiangxi Copper Company to address additional water treatment needs, meet environmental requirements, and maximize resource recovery at the Dexing site. We estimate that the new copper recovery plant will provide incremental recurring revenues of between $2.5 to $3.0 million on an annual basis for the joint venture partners based on current copper prices, of which $1.25 to $1.5 million would accrue to BioteQ. The project will provide a good return on capital for BioteQ. This new project builds on the strong working relationship that we have with Jiangxi Copper Company, and is further evidence of progress with regards to our new strategy.”
The new plant will apply BioteQ’s patented ChemSulphide® process to selectively recover copper from mine drainage, using a design similar to the copper recovery plant built at the site in 2008. This plant will address the Dexing mine’s need for increased water treatment capacity.
The plant will be designed to treat up to 24,000 cubic meters of water per day. Annually, it is expected to treat approximately 4.6 million cubic meters of water and remove approximately 900,000 pounds of copper from the environment, in a form that can be refined into useful products. The copper concentrate will be sold to Jiangxi Copper Company’s refinery at market prices, less transportation and refining costs. The operating costs for the new plant are expected to be similar to the current operation, which has a production cost of approximately $1.50 per pound of copper recovered. The financial performance of the copper recovery plant can be impacted by copper price, the amount of copper dissolved in the water, and annual precipitation levels.
This is the fourth water treatment project between BioteQ and its joint venture partner, Jiangxi Copper Company (JCC). In 2006, BioteQ and JCC formed a joint venture to apply BioteQ’s technology at JCC’s mine sites. To date, the partners have designed, built, and operated three water treatment plants at the Dexing mine site, located near Dexing City in south-eastern China, including a copper recovery plant that applies BioteQ’s ChemSulphide® process to remove approximately 1.7 million pounds of copper annually from the environment, a BioteQ designed HDS-lime treatment plant, and an ion exchange plant for recovery of cobalt and nickel. The joint venture projects have been recognized with several national and international awards for environmental performance and sustainability.
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